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Norfolk Catholic tops Cards in wild shootout

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Before the first area lightning strike Friday night, Norfolk Catholic produced several big-play bolts of its own to spark a 48-35 victory over Boone Central/Newman Grove in Albion.
After a thunderstorm featuring thunder, lightning, heavy rain and hail suspended play for 55 minutes, the Knight’s capped their wild win with two more long scoring strikes that staved off BC/NG’s fourth-quarter rally efforts.
In all, Catholic had four scoring plays that covered more than 50 yards and another of 31 yards. Boone Central/Newman Grove more than matched the visitors in total yards, but couldn’t overcome the handful of defensive lapses and three costly turnovers.
“It was a back-and-forth game for most of the night. We just had a few too many mistakes and bad bounces,” said Cardinal Coach Mark Hudson. “The kids played hard against a quality team and, at the end of the day, that’s the key moving forward.”
A combination miscue/big play drove the final stake into Cardinal hopes. Trailing 41-21, BC/NG had a first down at the Catholic six-yard line following a 76-yard pass completion from Dylan Gentrup to Cody Nelson. The ensuing shotgun snap sailed over Gentrup’s head, however, and Knight senior Kelby Schaefer scooped up the ball and returned it 80 yards for a Catholic TD and 48-21 advantage with 7:26 to play.
“That was huge,” acknowledged Hudson. “The game would have played out differently if we had scored there.”
Schaefer was also the one who got Catholic’s big-play barrage started, bolting through the middle of the BC/NG defense for a 66-yard touchdown on the Knights’ second play from scrimmage.
Catholic was clinging to a 17-14 lead when Knight speedster Dylan Kautz found daylight and zipped 58 yards for a TD with 3:29 remaining in the first half.
The teams settled into a stalemate, with Catholic extending its lead to 27-14 before the bad weather sent teams and fans alike scurrying for cover with 1:13 remaining in the third period.
When play resumed, those who stuck around were treated to plenty of late fireworks.
Evan Smith’s 31-yard touchdown dash to open the fourth quarter put Catholic ahead 34-14. BC/NG answered with Gentrup passing to Nelson for 40 yards and a TD, and Kautz followed with a 51-yard touchdown romp to make it 41-21. After Schaefer’s fumble recovery and score, Gentrup fired TD passes of nine yards to Ethan Dozler and 17 to Will Frey, but the deficit was simply to big for the Cardinals to make up completely in the time remaining.
Further details in Print & Online editions of Albion News